RADNOR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) joins the American Liver Foundation (ALF) to raise awareness for the millions of Americans infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV), as the rate of new HCV infections was four times as high in 2018 as it was in 2009.1 In a recent Lincoln survey, more than 80% of U.S adults say they know what HCV is, yet only 35% are aware it’s curable, indicating confusion as cases of the disease continue to rise.2
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2.4 million people in the United States are living with chronic hepatitis C,1 however, it’s estimated that 4 in 10 people don’t know they’re infected.3 With the increase in new cases, and so many unknown cases, earlier this year the CDC updated its testing recommendations, calling for one-time screening for all adults 18 years and older (with routine periodic testing for those with ongoing risk factors), and screening of all pregnant women during every pregnancy. Despite these recommendations, only 24% of Lincoln survey respondents said they’ve been tested for HCV.2
“As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of testing is as clear as ever when it comes to combating infectious diseases,” said Dr. John Greene, Vice President and Chief Medical Director for Lincoln’s individual Life Insurance business. “The same is true when it comes to HCV, the ‘silent epidemic’ for which there’s a cure. As a member of ALF’s Corporate Council, Lincoln stands with ALF and the global community to advocate for HCV awareness, prevention, testing and treatment, to help eliminate this disease.”
Nearly 70% of those surveyed by Lincoln said they aren’t concerned about themselves or a family member getting sick from HCV.2 In fact, just 26% said they’ve talked about liver health with their health care provider.2 If left untreated, chronic hepatitis C can lead to liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer. Unfortunately, the disease has few noticeable symptoms, which often don’t appear for years or decades.
Thankfully, the treatment of HCV infections has evolved significantly in recent years with the development of direct-acting antiviral medications resulting in shorter treatment duration, fewer side effects and cure rates of roughly 95%.
“In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, it is easy for people to overlook routine, but critical, health maintenance,” said Lynn Gardiner Seim, EVP & Chief Operating Officer, American Liver Foundation. “As we all continue to take steps to ensure our health, it is imperative, now more than ever before, to adhere to HCV testing guidelines so people who need treatment can receive it before chronic hepatitis C results in significant liver health issues.”
Getting treated can provide a second lease on life for those with HCV. Treatment can improve liver and physical health, mental and emotional health, and overall wellness, enabling the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle that HCV may have stood in the way of before.
Treatment can even help overcome financial planning challenges that HCV may have presented in the past, such as obtaining affordable life insurance. Of those surveyed by Lincoln, just 42% said they thought individuals with HCV can get life insurance coverage.2 Lincoln has incorporated the newest clinical information about HCV medical advancements in its underwriting approach to offer more favorable underwriting ratings for most individuals with hepatitis C who have been successfully treated, resulting in lower costs for life insurance coverage. Lincoln has also expanded coverage eligibility for some untreated individuals.
Hep C Resources and Information
To learn more about hepatitis C diagnosis, treatment and support, visit HepC123.org
To see the full hepatitis C survey conducted by Lincoln, click here.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $247 billion in end-of-period account values as of March 31, 2020. Lincoln Financial Group is a committed corporate citizen included on major sustainability indices including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index North America and FTSE4Good. Dedicated to diversity and inclusion, Lincoln earned perfect 100 percent scores on the Corporate Equality Index and the Disability Equality Index. Lincoln has also been recognized in Newsweek’s Most Responsible Companies and is among Forbes’ World’s Best Employers, Best Large Employers, Best Employers for Diversity, Best Employers for Women and ranked on the JUST 100 list. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Sign up for email alerts at http://newsroom.lfg.com.
About American Liver Foundation
Founded in 1976, the American Liver Foundation is the nation’s largest patient advocacy organization for people living with liver disease. ALF reaches more than 3 million people each year with health information, education and support services through community-based programs, and an active online presence. ALF’s hepatitis C educational programs focus on three key factors: diagnosis, treatment and support. ALF has a National Helpline and a physician locator. Find out more. Information is available at www.liverfoundation.org or by calling 1-800-GO-LIVER (1-800-465-4837).
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Beyond baby boomers: Hepatitis C now heavily impacting multiple generations, Press Release, April 09, 2020
- Lincoln Financial & CivicScience Hepatitis C Awareness Survey. Data gathered by CivicScience: 06/30/2020 – 07/07/2020
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vital Signs, April 2020